Credit: © Matsas /Leestra / Leemage
Alaa Al Aswany
Imaginary cities. Alexandria-Marseille, back and forth
Alaa Al Aswany’s literary works have been translated into 37 foreign languages. They include Armenian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Castilian, Chinese, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
He was chosen by The Times (UK), as one of the most important novelists in the world in the last fifty years. His name and literary works were added to the famous French encyclopedia Le Petit Larousse. He has given talks and lectures at universities around the world, including at Princeton University, University of Oxford, Dartmouth College, and New York University. He was a visiting professor at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, spring 2019. He was a distinguished writer in residence and visiting professor of literature, Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, New York, spring 2017
He was chosen as honorary president of the Blois Festival, one of the largest literary festivals in France, 2015. The Christian Science Monitor chose The Automobile Club of Egypt third in a list of the best ten novels in the United States, 2015. The Journal of American Publishers chose The Automobile Club of Egypt as the novel of the week, 2015. He was chosen as guest of honor in Le Marathon des mots, France’s largest international literary festival in Toulouse in 2009 and 2012, where international actor Omar Sharif and French actress Ariane Escarad read excerpts in French from his literary works.
Foreign Policy magazine ranked him in first place on a list of the 100 most influential thinkers in the world, 2011. The renowned French director John Louis Martinelli presented a play based on his novel Chicago. The play opened on September 2011 in Paris’s Les Amandiers Theater. He was chosen at the international book fair in Paris as one of the 30 most important non-French writers in the world, March 2010.
In May 2009 his short stories were published in the literary supplement of the Sunday Times. The Yacoubian Building celebrated its millionth copy sold in non-Arabic languages, 2007. Al Aswany was chosen as the most prominent figure in the Arab world by an Al Arabiya news channel poll, 2007
The French literary magazine Lire chose the novel The Yacoubian Building as sixth in a ranking top 20 non-French books in 2006. Newsday chose the The Yacoubian Building as the best translated novel in the United States, 2006. The Yacoubian Building was made into a major motion picture, 2006